The widespread use of social media has changed our society, particularly in terms of our ability to communicate and share information with friends, family and even strangers. People routinely post information and pictures about every facet of their lives. While this permits social media users to share daily experiences with loved ones, the lack of privacy can have a downside. Insurance companies now routinely review social media sites for information that can be used against a claim or to avoid or minimize liability for a claim. Insurance carriers might even attempt to send you a message or email through your social media website. Although the risk is worse if you are the injury victim involved in a car accident with a third party claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company, a policyholder making a homeowners claim can still compromise an insurance claim with social media activity.
If you have filed an insurance claim arising from damage to your home or liability of your business, the best alternative is to temporarily take down your social media page and/or suspend all activity. As an experienced Miami insurance claims attorney, I recognize the ways that social media activity can derail your insurance claim, so I have provided some examples:
Evidence Regarding Mitigation: An insured who files a property damage claim has a duty to mitigate damages by undertaking temporary repairs to prevent further damage to your home after a loss. These mitigation measures might include covering broken out windows, using tarps or plastic to prevent water penetration through a leaky roof or other measures to prevent increased damage to your home. If you take pictures after a bad storm or act of vandalism that causes such damage, the insurer might argue that you failed to perform post-loss responsibilities.
Pre-Existing Damage: The insurance company might scour photos posted on your social media website for evidence of prior damage to your home. While you will want pictures of your property’s condition prior to your loss, you do not necessarily want to provide pictures on an indiscriminate basis. If you allow representatives from your insurance company to indiscriminately review photos on your social media page, the insurer might claim ambiguous photos indicate pre-existing damage.
Evidence of Negligence: Every homeowners insurance contract requires the policyholder to perform routine maintenance. Insurance companies frequently use claims of neglected maintenance issues as a basis to deny claims. Insurers might look for pictures on your social media site that support a claim that your failure to perform ordinary upkeep and repairs caused the damage to your home.
Improper Repairs: While you are required to perform maintenance, an insurance company might deny your claim if your negligent repairs caused the damage. Sometimes homeowners attempt to jerry-rig a repair. The insurance company might use photos showing such inadequate repairs as the cause of a loss.
Ambiguous Statements: If your home is damaged by a hurricane, fire or other peril, this will be a significant life event that you might be expected to talk about on your social media site. The insurance company will look for statements that compromise your claim such as misrepresentations or inaccurate information provided to the insurer. The insurer also might twist other statements to undermine your claim.
Suggestion of Malingering (Third-Party Claims): If you have suffered injuries in a car accident, the negligent party’s insurance company might contend that you are malingering or exaggerating your injuries. Photos of you engaged in routine activity around your home like gardening or moving a box might be used to dispute the severity of your injuries.
If you have questions about social media activity or other insurance claim issues, you are welcome to contact my Florida insurance claims dispute law firm. My law firm represents policyholders in claims disputes in Miami and throughout Florida. The Law Firm of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A. offers free consultations and case evaluations. No Recovery, No Lawyer Fees. Call 305-461-1095 or Toll Free 1-866-71-CLAIM.